Thursday, February 12, 2009

Exceptions, Making Things Right

Every life has its worries and often these affect outcomes in quite significant ways. How do you keep a lover? One worried way is to make sure you are always available because what if you aren't? Hmmm? But of course you can't let your lover know that or else she might think you are a pushover, and the guys, if they find out, oh, oh. There's a pithy phrase for that state of affairs. Worry all the way around.

I lived for many years with one arm tied behind me (so to speak), making sure I didn't risk too great a success. I got into my career late, at a lower level, and then was really pleased with myself that without training I succeeded so well. But if I had trained up on the front end, I would have easily doubled my salary and more all the way along. And if I had trained up successfully in something I wouldn't even be in my career.

I returned to college and brag on myself that I actually finished in this odd way that I did (perhaps to be told some other time) Or maybe I did tell that. I would have to look. But I finished far too late for it to make any difference.

That's what I mean. One hand behind me. I have modest success, perhaps even remarkable considering alcoholism, but then again, that's what I mean. Anxiety about success stopped me.

So here's a poem about living like that.


I would slay dragons
Except for the tears they shed
When they have fallen.

I would go on quest
But I think you might then come
To find me at home.

I would answer you,
Say yes if you would hold still,
But you never do.

So I ride dragons
Never far from home in case
You come to take me.


But then there is the more positive spin. I am not all that concerned with worldly success and that I am sure is not compensation for my holding back. My interest belongs more in this world of poetry, or if you will, it is spiritual in nature. Here is another poem about this same spot, about not being oriented to the typical worldly success. It is about spiritual success.

Making Things Right

So I have gone in,
Deep into the hut to sit
In the center spot
Where the power is,
Where we sit to move the world.

I have risen up
Toward the sky hole
To meet the angel. She comes
To take the message.

I plead all be right again.
She nods, a kiss. She ascends.


  1. I ride my dragons close to home too, just in case that certain person calls or stops by. I stay ready and responsive, just in case. It hasn't served me so well, either, but life hasn't turned out too bad. I really like how you put this.

  2. Thomas Paine said, "That which we achieve too easily, we esteem too lightly." I think there's great truth in that. Our human nature causes us to throw away even the valuable things if we don't have to struggle for them. It sounds as though living with your arm tied back helped you avoid this for a while.

    Success in the spiritual realm is ever to be esteemed. You certainly seem to have found this, and also to have found the things that are worthy of esteem.

    Good post and good poems, both.

  3. I really loved the dragon poem. But if it is true love, the one could travel far and wide and the one left behind would be here waiting, keeping the home fires burning, as they say, until the one make a triumphant return.

    I am a late bloomer also who now knows success later in life.

  4. Rachel, Yes, all that I wrote is not written in regret. I do not mean it regretfully, just that it is what has happened. My life set me on this path as surely as I chose it, choosing along the easier lines for me has paradoxically given me the struggles I have lived. And the music, and the poetry.

    Karen, the sentiment you share about the difficulties often sounds to me like philosophy after the fact, "since I struggle and it's good and I don't really know another way, then this is the good life". I don't know it is true of you or me, but it does sometimes sound self serving.

    My inside life during this lifelong struggle has always contained an occasional consciousness and acknowledgment that I was holding back, a wonder at it, a query, an occasional regret, because I knew my mother was right about some of it, that I had the raw talent for many things.

    And the gamble or not has been a very large wager, my whole life.

    Sao, It is not always true that the one left behind waits. He waits if possible. Every separation is separation. Every goodbye might be permanent. Every return holds within it the gamble that life can overwhelm the heart in mysterious ways and hollow out vows as it does. I vow not to lose my love with each lover who leaves on her journey and in some ways I do not, but I would not live now with Maire, though I am still fond. As for my last, Frances, I am not sure that it is actually over because of the family threads we forged but we will almost certainly not be lovers again.

    I am only saying that life is so much bigger than I am or you are and it is my first obligation, and yours.

    Nina, welcome.

  5. I love both poems. Your narrative of your life reminds me very much of myself in many ways, and I have no regrets either. I have enjoyed every second of the backhanded way I've come into things, so I can really relate.

    And I agree, why slay those dragons? They are far more interesting to watch and learn than to slay.

    Great post.

  6. Cat, if I were to read your life then I perhaps would agree. The teachers say write what you know and I agree with that. I have found it a curious freedom to know that someone is watching. This proscenium arch is so thoroughly in place, the audience is worldwide, but I can't know who or when, until you reveal yourselves a little. Then perhaps we share if we can.

  7. Writing what I know is all I know how to do! Even my fiction is imbued with so much honest emotion and experience, I can barely call it fiction! But, alas, I can not reveal my entire path to you now, as it all too short here in the comment sections of life. Perhaps when I write my biography it will all become clear. I come into things in life because of my creative desire to do things of which I am not at all trained to do. I just jump in and do them. Perhaps why I call myself a Jill of all trades, master of none..., except of self expression I am a master as really that is all I am capable of.

  8. I liked very much "Exceptions".
    Great post.

  9. Cat, I quite honestly doubt I can ever say it all. That's something I learned over a long time having the desire and the hope (illusion) that I could. So I tried to, in a couple, three different ways. Each ended in little more than embarassment. I don't think I am not capable, nor that I have not found the right venue. I think it is built in to the shape of things.

    There is even a mathematical proof of it, oddly enough, written by Kurt Godel. And his statement is paraphrased in English that if you ever get a way to express the whole thing fully and truthfully you will also have found a way to express things that cannot be certain in your way of expressing things. I believe we live like that with boudaries that shift and so we can say new things but older things sometimes then drop away unexpressed again.

    That's really thick. But if you get it, kind of spooky.

  10. Truck, thanks for visiting and I am pleased you liked Exceptions.

  11. That is perfectly expressed Christopher. And I love that, because if I ever said it all I'd have to go off to a monastery somewhere and stop it. ;-) So let me rephrase, I'm a master at attempting to be a master at self expression. And, by the way, that doesn't include speaking. I get all tongue tied. Life would be so much clearer for those around me if I just walked around with a note pad, except I can't write in anything that is readable so I guess my circular way of zeroing in on the multitude of facets will simply have to do. LOL! Sigh...

  12. I have thought hard on that monastery thing but its sort of like thinking of suicide...I just can't get really serious about either one...


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